There is a problem when you identify yourself with something, anything. It is as if a cause, purpose, and mission are in themselves brands with their own identity, label, and experience. Those who agree with the brand will make your life easy. They will praise, encourage, and at times even try to nurture your efforts. On the other hand, those who oppose or are agnostic about the cause, purpose, or mission will undermine your efforts, question your values, and nibble on your reputation. It is a burden which cannot be ignored, given away, or denied. If one chooses to carry on with the brand knowing the burden, one can look for others in the same cause to help share the load, yet it is in this knowledge and the decision to continue that life itself often hangs.
A commentator said every great cause has a clear purpose and noble intent. The challenge for many today rests in the conundrum when their political party’s mission isn’t clear. Even in business people find that they are confused and demoralized when the clarity required within corporate objectives is missing. Sports teams ask themselves what the goal is and how will they achieve it (style, organization). The requirement for a brand is clear, yet the cost of the brand is often ignored, dismissed, or forgotten.
You and I, along with every other human being, are called to be part of a great cause. We live in a world consumed by hatred, fear, and ignorance. We are part of a society driven by greed, exploitation, and self. The cause is a brand defined by compassion, mercy, and unconditional acceptance. The brand is simply a metaphor for the full meaning of community and love. Yet “if you lived on the world's terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God's terms and no longer on the world's terms, the world is going to hate you.” (John 15.19) This is the burden of our cause. It is a heavy price worth paying.
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